Chandogya Upanishad (english Translation)

by Swami Lokeswarananda | 165,421 words | ISBN-10: 8185843910 | ISBN-13: 9788185843919

This is the English translation of the Chandogya-upanishad, including a commentary based on Swami Lokeswarananda’s weekly discourses; incorporating extracts from Shankara’s bhasya. The Chandogya Upanishad is a major Hindu philosophical text incorporated in the Sama Veda, and dealing with meditation and Brahman. This edition includes the Sanskrit t...

Verse 6.8.7

स य एषोऽणिमैतदात्म्यमिदं सर्वं तत्सत्यं स आत्मा तत्त्वमसि श्वेतकेतो इति भूय एव मा भगवान्विज्ञापयत्विति तथा सोम्येति होवाच ॥ ६.८.७ ॥
॥ इति अष्टमः खण्डः ॥

sa ya eṣo'ṇimaitadātmyamidaṃ sarvaṃ tatsatyaṃ sa ātmā tattvamasi śvetaketo iti bhūya eva mā bhagavānvijñāpayatviti tathā somyeti hovāca || 6.8.7 ||
|| iti aṣṭamaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

7. ‘That which is the subtlest of all is the Self of all this. It is the Truth. It is the Self. That thou art, O Śvetaketu.’ [Śvetaketu then said,] ‘Sir, please explain this to me again.’ ‘Yes, Somya, I will explain again,’ replied his father.

Word-for-word explanation:

Saḥ yaḥ, that which; eṣaḥ, this; aṇimā, the subtlest of all; idam sarvam aitadātmyam, the Self of all this; tat satyam, that is the Truth; saḥ ātmā, that is the Self; tat, that; tvam, you; asi, are; śvetaketo iti, O Śvetaketu; bhagavān, sir; bhūyaḥ eva, again; , to me; vijñāpayatu iti, will you please explain; tathā, so be it; somya iti, O Somya; ha uvāca, he [the father] said. Iti aṣṭamaḥ khaṇḍaḥ, here ends the eighth section.


That which is the finest of all things, the subtlest, has that Existence, Sat, as its Self. That is the Truth, the Reality. We see all these forms before us. They are constantly changing. But that which we cannot see, which is the essence of everything, does not change. And that is our real identity. ‘That thou art’—this is the final message that Vedānta has to give. That Self, that essence, that pure Spirit, is your real identity.

The phenomena we see before us are nothing but names and forms—nāma and rūpa. They are attributes superimposed on that which is constant, unchanging, unchangeable. You may call a person by one name today, but tomorrow he may have another name. And as regards forms, these are always changing. We are never the same. Then again, after some time these forms are gone. Vedānta defines satya, real, as that which existed in the past, which exists now, and which will exist in the future. But the names and forms we see before us are ephemeral. One day they are here and the next they are gone, so they cannot be real.

Vedānta says, forget about your name and form. You are that eternal, unchanging Reality. Our form, our body, is the starting point of all our troubles. As soon aṣ we identify ourselves with the body we feel we are separate and different from others. ‘I am a brāhmin.’ ‘I am learned.’ ‘I am ignorant.’ ‘I come from such-and-such a place.’ Then you go on adding and adding—‘I am tall.’ ‘I am short.’ ‘I am fair.’

‘I am dark.’ Remove these. Go to the essence, to the root—mūlā.

Sir P.C. Roy did not believe in the caste system. In fact, he had contempt for it. Sometimes he would get together with some students and argue with them. Among the students, some were brāhmins and some were non-brāhmins. He would say: ‘Look, I am a chemist. I can prove that the blood of the brāhmin and the blood of the śūdra are both the same. They are composed of the same elements. But you say that this is a person of brāhmin blood and this is a person of śūdra blood. These distinctions are not real.’

Vedānta also says these differences are mere upādhis, attributes. They are superimpositions. What is real? Pure Spirit. In essence we are all one.